Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 7 May 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Just between us girls (old SF saying), quite a few Americans are backing Le Pen for inexplicable reasons. My many Facebook friends from throughout my life reflect this. These Americans are normal red-blooded Americans that live in Podunk America and barely follow the domestic news. Somehow they have come out and are actively promoting Le Pen, in the French election.  I see a few reasons.  Russian and pro-Russian media is forming the dominant basis for news media, and of course, Americans are not, for the most part, following Russian or French media.  As you’ll see in the expert analysis, below, the Mainstream Media reads the same media as the French, but are not as savvy as the French (they don’t ignore the propaganda or the hype).  The Mainstream Media is, in many cases, regurgitating media inspired by pro-Russian and Russian media.  Russian propaganda is directly affecting American media and, therefore, American citizens. If this isn’t cause for alarm by Congress, they are ignoring reality.

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Russia reporting dominated by the domestic meltdown, which is propagating, and upcoming V-E Day celebrations. St Petersburg naval event canceled, the excuse being that a USN Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the Baltic might attack the naval review with a salvo of TLAMs …. Warren essay understates what is required – active rollback, not passive containment. A multiplicity of essays on protests and ethnic divisions across Russia, and the campaign of Orwellian historical revisionism.

IO – Russian threat to sue Macron for complaining about RT and Sputnik smear campaign, like the long-standing practice of Russian trolls filing complaints when beaten in social media arguments.

Ukraine – Donbass fires continue, MSM dominated by Seagal ban, and Eurovision, and major concerns about Russian urban terrorism as Eurovision coincides with V-E Day, and the Russians have a motive to cause trouble, noting increased frequency of weapons cache finds in recent days, including two with RPGs in Kiev this week.

Wetzel essay on Russian weapons and PGMs in Syria is a good survey, but misses THE key point – who cares if Russian PGMs used in Syria are a generation behind Western PGMs, given they are as good as and often better than the PGMs we in the West used in ODS, OAF and OEF. Moreover, what we think is irrelevant, it is the Russians’ internal assessments of combat effect that will determine their actions.

No major DPRK developments, but lots of interesting reading. Mizokami essay is a decent survey for novices, but to claim secrecy verges on the foolish. Reports from Asia’s MSM make for good reading.

Review of Sechser and Fuhrmann book on nuclear coercion is interesting, unclear whether it addresses Russian threats to Ukraine in 2014, that may have convinced Kiev not to use air power against Russian resupply routes in Rostov, or the Crimean lodgement.

French election dominates MSM foreign policy traffic.


Russia / Russophone Reports


The fleet review in St. Petersburg was canceled because of the American destroyer

Sources in the Defense Ministry only said that the naval parade on the occasion of Victory Day will not take place. The reason for the sudden departure of ships of the Baltic Fleet from St. Petersburg was an American destroyer with Tomahawk missiles, which approached the inland waters of Russia to a distance sufficient for a potential missile attack. This is reported by the publication “Fontanka” . Most of the ships moored at the piers on the Neva left Petersburg the day before dawn. At the floating berth on May 6, only two minesweepers, and a small anti-submarine ship Zelenodolsk, were moored. In Kronstadt, where the Leningrad naval base is stationed, three submarines and a missile boat “Morshansk” were loaded with ammunition. The squadron went to the Baltic Sea. By the evening the corvette “Steady” and a small anti-submarine ship “Urengoy” returned and embarked on a raid off the island of Kotlin. Sources in the Defense Ministry only said that the naval parade on the occasion of Victory Day will not take place. According to the “Fontanka”, sudden maneuvers are associated with the fact that the American destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) entered Gdansk Bay. The officer of the Baltic Fleet explained to the publication that dispatching warships at sea is an ordinary tactic of the navy in the event of a threat of a sudden missile strike. Going to the parade in the Neva, the ships are always unloaded in Kronstadt ammunition, so in the morning on the berths of the Leningrad naval base and the “storm work” [Ed: jargon for last minute repairs on warship before engaging in combat] was boiling. On ships and submarines at a hurried pace loaded rockets, shells and torpedoes and refueled them with fuel. The main attack weapon of the American destroyer consists of two launch systems “Aegis” for 90 cruise missiles. Some of these missiles may be “Tomahawks,” Fontanka believes. In early April, a similar type of Carney destroyer Porter launched such missiles in Syria. From open sources it follows that on the eve of Carney took part in the Joint Warrior – large-scale NATO exercises, held in April off the coast of Britain. On the official page of the destroyer on Facebook on March 3 it was reported that the ship left hospitable Amsterdam and starts patrolling European waters in the interests of US national security. In addition to the presence of Carney, there are other signs of NATO’s activity in the region. On May 3, four alliance ships entered the Latvian city of Liepaja, and at the end of April two fifth-generation F-35A aircraft arrived at the Estonian airbase of Emary.

070404-N-5459S-046CARIBBEAN (April 4, 2007) – The guided missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) underway in the Caribbean during a training exercise. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Vincent J. Street (RELEASED)

James A. Warren | How The West Contained Russian Aggressions

America’s man in Moscow was the first to recommend strategic containment of Russian leaders. It’s an idea whose time has perhaps come again with Putin’s meddling in the U.S. election.

George Kennan “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” (1946)           

The full text of George Kennan’s “Long Telegram” (1946)

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Regime has Ceased to Trust the Russian People, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 6 – Various recent polls show that Russians now trust Vladimir Putin and his entourage far less than they did only a few years ago, but a more important loss of trust in that country has passed largely unnoticed, Sergey Shelin argues. That is the Kremlin’s loss of trust in the Russian people. In a post on the Rosbalt news portal yesterday, the Russian commentator suggests that the Putin regime “no longer counts on its subjects” to love it or feels compelled to show any love for them, a shift that presents certain problems given that the country stands before presidential elections in March 2018 (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/05/05/1613449.html). But those problems, he suggests, only highlight the existence of the rulers’ distrust of the ruled. And the regime’s efforts to suggest it does care about the people by talking about the May 2012 decrees and pension indexing only call to mind the joke that “if the people loses the trust of the authorities, then democratic principles require that the people should resign” or be replaced. This loss of trust in the people by the authorities is perhaps most clearly seen by the decision of Vladimir Putin to jointly with Patriarch Kirill to erect a memorial in the Kremlin to Grand Duke Sergey who was killed in 1905, an action the Kremlin leadership said promotes the strengthening of civic unity by condemning the use of force against any target. That contrasts with the Putin regime’s silence about the murder four weeks earlier in 1905 of several hundred peaceful Russian subjects in what has long been known as Bloody Sunday. Each of those who was killed at that time “had exactly the same right to life as did the uncle of the emperor.” But “our top people are so combined in their thinking with the top people of the past that the very idea of displaying even ritual respect to the simple people who suffered at the hands of the authorities even in the past is absolutely alien to them,” the Rosbalt commentator continues. Thus, there are no new monuments to the ordinary victims of tsardom: they “don’t count.” “Today’s bosses are interested only in the problems of bosses. Today those are their own; in the past, these were the problems of previous generations of leading people.” And “this isolation from the subjects, in combination with an absolute lack of trust in them is constantly giving rise to incidents,” sometimes funny but sometimes tragic. Such attitudes on the part of today’s rulers reflect their origins in “the corporate culture” of the security services in which “trust in ‘one’s own’ is partial, but to ‘outsiders’ completely non-existent.” Such a system may exist for a long time, but it won’t be a happy one for either rulers or ruled.

Russia: thousands of protesters mark anniversary of Bolotnaya Square crackdown – To Inform is to Influence

Three reports in English on the fifth anniversary of the protests in Bolotnaya Square protests against the results of the 2012 Russian elections.  One new, one is one month old. Russia: thousands of protesters mark anniversary of Bolotnaya Square crackdown

euronews.net 

12:04 Bolotnaya 2.0? openDemocracy 08:07 Fri, 14 Apr Strangely, the third story, published on…

5 Years After Crackdown, an Anti-Kremlin Protest Resumes – To Inform is to Influence

By ANDREW HIGGINS MAY 6, 2017 MOSCOW — Pro-Western liberals, hard-line nationalists, gay-rights activists and other Kremlin opponents gathered in central Moscow on Saturday, seeking to revive a broad-based protest movement against President Vladimir V. Putin that was snuffed out five years ago by mass arrests and stiff jail sentences. The demonstrators chanted the one demand…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 4300 Long-Haul Truckers Remain on Strike But Others Will Join Them if Demands Aren’t Met

Paul Goble Staunton, May 6 – Andrey Bazhutin, president of Russian Carriers Union, says that 4300 drivers remain on active strike, others have returned to work to earn money for their families and to spread the word to other drivers on their roots, but that all say they’ll be resume their labor action if officials don’t take them seriously on May 17. That is the day when strike leaders are scheduled to meet with representatives of the transportation ministry and Human Rights Council. “If we are not listened to at that meeting, then the strike will enter a new stage,” the labor leader told the press in Moscow (rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/590c65669a79476c9f5cfcdd). Bazhutin acknowledged that the greatest number of active strikers – some 3,000 – are in the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan, but he pointed out that there are some in almost all federal subjects of the Russian Federation. And he added that the strikers who have gone back to work are now spreading the word along their routes and attracting additional support. Bazhutin welcomed conversations between the striking drivers and officials but noted that many officials were taking a hard line against the strike and that five drivers remain behind bars at the present time. The union plans to help them defend themselves in court (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/05/06/72389-pyatero-nashih-druzey-ostayutsya-v-tyurmah-istoriya-prodolzhaetsya). Meanwhile, at the other end of Russia, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the first Congress of Long-Haul Drivers of Sakha took place. Initial reports suggest that both sides welcomed the dialogue but that little or no progress was made in resolving the key issues of disbanding the Plato fee system (yakutia.info/article/180193).Tencent ‘deeply sorry’ for WeChat block in Russia – To Inform is to InfluenceGentle readers, please don’t think for a minute that the headline is the actual story.  WeChat is being blocked in Russia for allowing messaging to occur over Russian telecommunications systems that Russia cannot monitor.   More specifically, it’s not that Russia can’t monitor these communications, but without WeChat ‘registering’ with Russian authorities, Russia cannot identify…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Might Putin Name His Own Successor? — and for Same Reasons Yeltsin Did in 1999?

Paul Goble Staunton, May 6 – Most Moscow commentators believe that Vladimir Putin will run and win re-election in 2018, but some are speculating that he might decide to depart the scene by naming his own successor, thereby defining the future course of the country and protecting himself much as Boris Yeltsin did with his selection of Putin himself in 1999. Pavel Salin, a researcher at Moscow’s Finance University, argues that “in the elections of the president, a repetition of the 1999 scenario cannot be excluded,” a comment he made to Polit.ru(polit.ru/article/2017/05/06/elections4/) in response to another article earlier this week by Vasily Izmaylov who makes a similar case (polit.ru/article/2017/05/02/elections2018/). Both say that this “hypothesis” helps to “explain the political process that has been taking place in Russian recently and also the actions of several Russian oligarchs abroad” and reflects the fact that Putin is “pursuing several strategic goals” including ensuring his own future and securing “a certain stable development of the system.” “The notion that Putin will not run for a new term is not sensational,” Salin says. “Such a variant already for a certain time has been considered within the elites” and that in turn explains why there is such a heated fight over the post of prime minister, given that now as 20 years ago, many assume that is the last step to the highest office. There are of course other possible candidates, the Moscow analyst continues, but most of them trail Dmitry Medvedev in the imagination of the powers that be, just as was the case in 2006 when the elite assumed that either Medvedev or Ivanov would succeed Putin in office when the latter could not run for a third successive term.

Russia Rewrites History Yet Chastises Same – To Inform is to Influence

Russia says that:  Any attempts to falsify the history of the Great Patriotic War are unacceptable. But somehow it is acceptable that ANY other part of Russian or Soviet history can be rewritten. Stalin, for instance, is now considered a great hero of the Soviet Union.  Putin is having that history “corrected” as we speak. Never…

Russia MisRemembers History – To Inform is to Influence

This little piece of garbàge is circulating in Russian circles.   My eyes were immediately drawn to the word “ingratitude”.  Oh, Mr. Soviet Bear, thank you so much for invading us, trying to destroy our will to live, killing all our Jews, and attempting to kill off our culture for 50 years.    (Translated from…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ever More Russians Say Stalin was Right to Deport North Caucasians

Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – “Ever more Russians secretly dream about a new Stalin” who will carry out “Stalin-style repressions in the Caucasus,” according to Ingush writer Akhmed Yevloyev, who points to a recent article in a St. Petersburg newspaper bearing the title “The Ingush Must Be Grateful to Stalin for Their Deportation and Put Up Monuments to Him.” That article, in Petersburgskaya gazeta four days ago, has already led Ingush officials to demand its author, Andrey Apalin, be investigated for extremism (interfax.ru/russia/561348); but Yevloyev argues North Caucasians are now “powerless to defend themselves” against such ideas (onkavkaz.com/news/1674-o-novom-staline-dlja-kavkaza-vtaine-mechtaet-vse-bolshe-rossijan-i-kavkaz-bessilen-zaschitit-se.html). The rapidly growing popularity of Stalin in Russian society, a popularity promoted by the Kremlin, has “already born sad fruit” in the North Caucasus, Yevloyev says, with “the number of people in Russia who assert that Stalin’s repressions against the Caucasus peoples were completely justified growing” emerging from the margins and becoming mainstream. That carries with it not only the certainty that Russians will view North Caucasians ever more negatively but also the likelihood some will back new “Stalinist” measures against them. Yevloyev asked Bagaudin Khautiyev, head of the Coordination Council of Youth Organizations of Ingushetia, and Rasul Kubanov, a lawyer from Karachayevo-Cherkessia, for comment. The two agreed that bringing charges against those who defend Stalin’s deportations is difficult if not impossible. There is no specific Russian law against such arguments, although both think there should be. And writers who make that argument can cite the positions of officials and thus escape any chance of punishment. Efforts by the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus and the Ingushetia legislature to change this and to introduce criminal punishments for any justification of Stalin’s crimes are useful in calling attention to the problem, but they have little chance of success given current attitudes in Russia in general and the Russian government in particular, the two say. For the peoples of the North Caucasus, Stalin’s deportations have left deep physical and psychological wounds. Half of those deported died from hunger, cold or illness, and the false charge that they had collaborated with the Germans – the ostensible reason for Stalin’s actions – continues to inform Russian attitudes, despite new laws in the 1990s intended to change that. Now, the pendulum is swinging back to a situation even worse than the one that existed before that time, with the survivors of the deportations mostly but not entirely back in their homelands but with ever more Russians convinced that what Stalin did was right – and that the North Caucasians should be “grateful” that they weren’t simply executed for treason.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Completely Restores and Actively Promotes Stalinist Conception of World War II, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – The Putin regime not only has completely restored the Stalinist conception of World War II but is promoting it in the media and the schools in ways that will make it ever more difficult for Russians to break out of that ideological straightjacket, according to Irina Pavlova (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2017/05/blog-post_6.html). The US-based Russian historian points to a recent article in Komsomolskaya Pravda as evidence. Entitled “The Americans Prepared Hitler for War with the USSR but Stalin Outplayed Them,” it was written by Yevgeny Spitsyn, an expert consultant to the Duma’s security committee and the author of history textbooks for Russian schools (kp.ru/daily/26670/3695123/). According to Pavlova, Spitsyn’s article is “a symbol of present-day Russian historiography of World War II and a symbol of the return to the Stalinist interpretation” in the most extreme way. In it, the writer repeats “all the myths about Stalin as the main peacemaker and supporter of collective security in the 1930s.” He treats the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as “a victory of Stalinist diplomacy.” He repeats the Stalinist claim about “the liberating advance of the Red Army into Poland on September 17, 1939.” And like Stalinist historians earlier, he overstates the size of the Germany armies which attacked Russia and understates the number of Soviet soldiers who were taken prisoner. And Spitsyn does all this in best or really worst Stalinist style. He dismisses the work of historians in the 1990s who sought to treat these issues more honestly as “garbage,” for example; and the textbook author calls suggestions that Stalin played a role in opening the way to war slanderous. Indeed, Pavlova says, his approach is “symbolic” of a larger problem: Russians are celebrating a victory in the war without being allowed to understand how and why it began, something that violates all moral principles and “betrays the memory of the millions who died in this war.” Nearly a decade ago, Pavlova continues, she wrote an essay in Grani in which she suggested that the more the Putin regime tried to conceal the truth about World War II and Stalin’s role in it, “the more people will be drawn to the truth” and insist on historical accuracy about their country’s past (graniru.org/War/m.136132.html). Today, she says, she is “much less optimistic” about that than she was nine years ago.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Even Oppressed Non-Russians Made Important Contributions to War Effort in World War II

Paul Goble Staunton, May 6 – A casual consumer of Russian propaganda outlets in advance of Moscow’s commemoration of Victory Day this year could be excused for thinking that the USSR defeated Hitler all on its own and that the Russian people were the only component of the Soviet war effort. But, of course, neither of these memes is true. The USSR played an enormous role in defeating Nazi Germany but it hardly fought alone or did so without massive aid from the West. And ethnic Russians, the largest ethnic group in the USSR then, did so as well, but they too did not fight alone; and both the contributions and sufferings of other nations must be remembered. Numerous Russian opposition commentators have pointed out how much the allies, however despised they may be now, contributed to outcome of World War II, but the contribution of non-Russians in the USSR to the Soviet effort have received much less attention, especially in the Moscow media. That should be corrected, and the Nazaccent portal makes a contribution to redressing the balance although its decision to focus on smaller nationalities rather than on larger ones like the Belarusians and Ukrainians who now have their own independent states understates just how large the non-Russian role was (nazaccent.ru/content/24005-grani-pobedy.html). The portal carries an article that focuses on four groups, which significantly it identifies not so much in ethnic terms as in economic and regional ones: the reindeer herders of the Northern Peoples, the nomads, the mountaineers of the North Caucasus, and the hunters of the taiga regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East. During the war, the Saami and Komi, two peoples of the Russian North, formed three reindeer transportation companies within the 14th army of the Karelian front. These units transported move than 10,000 wounded soldiers and 17 tons of materiel. Of the reindeers involved, only ten percent survived the war. In 2012, the Komi succeeded in having a monument erected to these special forces in Naryan-Mare. At present, the Saami community of Murmansk is seeking government permission to erect a second and is collecting money for this project. Until 1944 when Moscow annexed it, Tyva (or Tuva) was nominally independent; but it supplied its gold reserve, 50,000 horses and a million head of livestock to feed the Soviet army. And it organized a cavalry squadron which struck fear into the hearts of the Germans by its remarkable horsemanship and take-no-prisoners approach. The role of the North Caucasus “mountaineers” was more complicated not only because German forces occupied part of that region but also because Stalin deported more than a dozen of its peoples declaring them collectively guilty of collaboration with the enemy. In 1942, Moscow ended the draft in the region, but these things didn’t end North Caucasian participation. By the end of that year, there were 11 national units fighting for the Soviet side on the North Caucasus and Transcaucasus fronts and Nazaccent notes that “after the deporation of the Caucasus people to Central Asia, many Caucasus fighters changed their names in documents and thus remained on the frontlines.” And the taiga “hunters,” particularly a group from the Nanai nationality, gained fame for their marksmanship. One Nanai sniper was so good that the Germans put a price of 100,000 Reichsmarks on his head.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Increasingly View Victory Day as Just Another Day Off, Experts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, May 7 – Despite or even because the Kremlin has done so much to promote Victory Day as an official celebration of national unity, far more Russians and especially the young now view it as nothing more than another day off from work, a major shift in attitudes from those of 30 years ago, according to Moscow experts. Rosbalt journalist Dmitry Remizov spoke with four such authorities and summarized their views in an article posted on Friday (rosbalt.ru/russia/2017/05/05/1613457.html). Historian Dmitry Puchkin says that “a large segment of Russian young people view Victory Day simply as another day off,” largely he suggests because of a decline in the quality of education in Russia and the passing of generations. For many young Russians, World War II is every bit as distant from their lives as 1812 or World War I. It becomes the subject of “comics.” The powers that be bear an enormous responsibility for this development, he says, given that they promote the holiday but do nothing to improve historical education in Russia or to produce new quality films about the Great Fatherland War. Lev Lurye, a teacher at St. Petersburg’s Classical Gymnasium, agrees. He says that “the state interference in the celebration of Victory Day has deprived it of sincerity” because “the more official propaganda there is, the less sincere are the memories” of the war. And if people think Putin and Shoygu “’took the Reichstag,’ the less popular will be the holiday.” Pavel Kudyukin, a leader of the University Solidarity Union, says that the Kremlin has distorted the holiday because none of the current leaders have any direct connection with the war and therefore they have made the holiday in the minds of many as only “a sign of loyalty to the authorities and to their official conception of this event.” And Aleksey Petrov, head of the Alliance of Young Scholars Club, says that the passing of the generation of those who lived through the war means that Russians today get their ideas about the war not from veterans but rather from information campaigns, sources that have less of an impact. But he too blames the state for its compulsory approach to the holiday. When it was “voluntary,” people viewed Victory Day as something completely different, as theirs rather than someone else’s. Now, however, it has been reduced to an event they participate in only pro forma rather than by conviction. Nonetheless, Petrov continues, Victory Day “remains the most significant holiday for Russian citizens.” Thirty years ago, there was November 7 and May 1; but efforts by the authorities to create other holidays with deep meaning for the population have come and gone without much success. “And today, May 9 remains the only holiday which forces a family to go into the streets.” It would be a better one, he suggests, if people didn’t feel compelled to do so but rather acted on their own convictions. Unfortunately, given the interference of the state in these celebrations, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Thousands of Russian soldiers, aircraft and tanks march in a massive showcase of military power

The annual parades mark the Russian victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War 2

Man ‘pushed nephew off ninth floor balcony in Russia after he came out as gay’ | Metro News

A man allegedly pushed his 17-year-old nephew off a ninth floor balcony in Chechnya after discovering he was gay. The uncle reportedly killed the teenager after police told residents of the…

Russia and China progress to hypersonic weapon deployments | NextBigFuture.com

Russia and China progress to hypersonic weapon deployments

Polish troops discuss M109A6 Paladin capabilities | Defence Blog

U.S. Soldiers from Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, train Polish Troops on the M109A6 Paladin to give their allies a better understanding of its capabilities on April 28, 2017, here. The field artillery battalion, part of 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, is currently stationed in Poland in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve in an effort to strengthen the NATO alliance and deter aggression in the region. The soldiers spent the morning leading the Polish through a classroom brief and a hands-on demonstration of their equipment, to include the M109A6 Paladin and their M1068 Fire Direction Control Vehicle. “Some Polish officers and Non Commissioned Officers came in and we gave them a quick brief on the basic capabilities of the Paladin and what a Paladin Platoon is capable of,” said 1st. Lt. Kyle Sandulli, Platoon Leader, Bravo Battery, 3rd Bn., 29th FA Regt. “Then we brought them out to a static display in the motor pool and then we ran them through a crew drill and what the FDC does and what a crew drill looks like in an actual Paladin.”

US COAST GUARD CHIEF: Russia has ‘got us at checkmate’ in the Arctic – Business Insider

Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, warned Russia is building up a huge military and industrial presence in the region.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Pro-Kremlin media firms plan to sue Macron over alleged smear campaign – To Inform is to Influence 

“Plan” means “threaten”, which means RT and Sputnik are using words without action. This is a form of Lawfare, which is using the legal system as one more way of harassing someone or something. Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of RT and Sputnik, is the chief purveyor of false, fake, and misleading news, tilted strongly in favor…

FAKE NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week – To Inform is to Influence

FAKE NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week By The Associated Press May 6, 2017 10:45 am A roundup of some of the most wildly popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. AP checked these out; here are…

The Problem With English Used In Foreign Reporting – To Inform is to Influence

This is one helluva confusing report.  When I read through it the first time I thought it was interesting, but then a few of the words made me rethink the article. They didn’t quite fit, they didn’t work, they actually made me return and reread those suspect sentences to verify I was reading things correctly. …


Ukraine Reports


President’s address on the occasion of the official start of the Eurovision 2017 — Official website of the President of Ukraine

The Eurovision is the most famous song contest in the world. Each time millions of people from all over Europe, and recently from Australia as well, freeze in front of their TV screens rooting for their countries. The first contest took place in 1957. The song united Europe healing wounds caused by the World War II. And nobody could imagine at that time that this contest will become a symbol of show business development, communication technologies and television as art. Ukraine joined this contest much later than other countries, but it hosts the Eurovision for the second time already. Ruslana’s victory in spring 2004 happened in unison with the first pro-European Maidan. Jamala’s triumphant performance last spring in Stockholm again led the Eurovision to Kyiv. A powerful international support for the song “1944” became a symbol of solidarity with the Crimean Tatar people. Probably for the first time in the history of the contest, a song of such dramatic tension bore the palm. I am grateful to Jamala for the victory. For making this great European holiday in Ukraine come true. Attention of hundreds of millions of TV viewers from all over the world will be drawn to Ukraine these days, to our European aspirations, to our struggle for freedom and independence. It is a deeply symbolic coincidence that exactly in the days of the Eurovision, the Council of the European Union will adopt a final decision as regards visa-free regime. From the middle of the next month, Ukrainian citizens will get an opportunity to travel to the EU countries without visas. This is the first significant result of the reforms held in Ukraine during the last three years. I wish all of us, Ukrainians, to feel like true people’s diplomats these days as so many foreign guests came to Kyiv. Let us do everything for them to come back home with the best impressions from our country. No matter which country wins the contest, it will be a triumph of European values, European unity, European solidarity. And Ukraine is Europe. Without any doubt! I congratulate you, fellow Ukrainians, on a European spring. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Europe!

“Whatever country wins the contest, it will be the triumph of European values,” – Poroshenko on Eurovision. VIDEO (in Ukrainian)

07.05.17 13:45 – Whatever country wins the contest, it will be the triumph of European values, – Poroshenko on Eurovision. VIDEO (in Ukrainian) President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has recorded a special speech on the occasion of the official start of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. View video news.

Ukraine ready to forget woes with spectacular Eurovision party

Kiev brushes off Russian boycott and prepares for tens of thousands of visitors

Ukraine ‘Celebrates Diversity’ With Eurovision, But Critics Complain It’s All ‘A Show’

KYIV — One could forgive the casual observer for thinking revolution had returned to the Ukrainian capital, what with the boisterous tent city that sprang up this week on its main drag, Khreshchaty…

Two more Russian journalists denied entry to Ukraine, – Border Guard Service

07.05.17 14:55 – Two more Russian journalists denied entry to Ukraine, – Border Guard Service Ukraine’s border officers have issued a 3-year entry ban against two more Russian journalists. View news.

Ukraine bars entry to Russia Today correspondent

07.05.17 11:38 – Ukraine bars entry to Russia Today correspondent Border guards denied entry to Ukraine to photojournalist of Russia’s propaganda news agency Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) Ramil Sitdikov who was going to Kyiv to cover the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. View news.

Police to suppress use of anti-Ukrainian symbols, statements on May 8-9, – Minister Avakov

07.05.17 10:45 – Ukraine’s Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov promised tough reaction by police to provocations, anti-Ukrainian symbols and statements during May 8-9 memorial events. Censor.NET reports citing the Interior Ministry press service. According to the minister, the apologists of the Russkiy mir concept (the Russian World or Pax Russica) in Ukraine are speculating on the feelings of people and using their propaganda channels to circulate messages about the Bessmertny Polk (Immortal Regiment) memorial walk. This is done not to pay tribute to those who fought in World War II, not for historical memory, but for the sake of provoking internal conflicts in the Ukrainian society against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing aggression. Avakov noted that this year, as always, different political forces will try to use May 9 in order to remind about themselves in any possible way. “I know about the plans for such provocations in the capital and in a number of cities in the south-east of Ukraine. We know the names of the organizers and are aware of their plots … In all demonstrations and marches scheduled for this day, National Police and National Guard units will react toughly to anti-Ukrainian symbols and statements,” Avakov said. “The Interior Ministry will not allow creating preconditions for internal destabilization through provocative symbols and actions. This is our responsibility to the Ukrainian people,” the minister added.

SBU found arms cache with grenade launchers in Kyiv park. PHOTOS

06.05.17 17:51 – SBU found arms cache with grenade launchers in Kyiv park. PHOTOS The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Police found a cache with two RPG-22 grenade launchers in the Holosiivskyi forest park in Kyiv. View photo news.

Ukraine reports 45 enemy attacks, 5 WIAs in last day

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 45 times in the past 24 hours with five Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 07 May from UNIAN.

Five soldiers wounded in past day, 45 attacks registered, – ATO HQ

07.05.17 09:50 – Five soldiers wounded in past day, 45 attacks registered, – ATO HQ Russian hybrid forces continue firing on Ukrainian positions in the Donbas. Over the past day, 45 attacks were registered. View news.

Some 1,000 Donbas fatalities remain unidentified, – Black Tulip mission head Zhylkin

07.05.17 12:02 – Some 1,000 Donbas fatalities remain unidentified, – Black Tulip mission head Zhylkin About 1,000 servicemen and civilians killed in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area are still unidentified. Several hundred bodies have been taken to the government-controlled territory while others remain in the separatist-held area of the… View news.

Media reveal Russian citizen now managing seized Ukrainian factories in militant-occupied Donbas

Former Vice Governor of Russia&rsquo;s Irkutsk region Vladimir Pashkov is believed to be a general director of Vneshtorgservice, the company overseeing several Ukrainian enterprises located in the eastern Ukrainian territory temporarily controlled by de facto authorities of the so-called &quot;DPR&quot; and &quot;LPR,&quot; Kommersant-Vlast magazine reports. News 06 May from UNIAN.

Ukraine: A forgotten war in Europe

Photos from the frontline between the Ukrainian army and Russia-backed rebels from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

Ukraine: Prison Sentence for Academic in Separatist Region | Human Rights Watch

(Kyiv) – A military tribunal in the separatist-held area of Ukraine’s Donetsk region convicted a professor with pro-Ukrainian views on trumped-up charges of illegal weapons possession on May 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The court sentenced the academic, Ihor Kozlovsky, to 32 months in prison. The de facto authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) should immediately annul the sentence and free Kozlovsky.

Ukrainian boat resists Russian vessels trying to capture it | KyivPost

Russian vessels have allegedly tried and failed to capture a Ukrainian rescue boat in the Black Sea some 48 kilometers south of Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast, where the Ukrainians were on practice drills. The incident happened around 10 a.m. on April 24, but only became widely known and discussed after Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure had published the video account of a radio conversation between the Ukrainian rescue boat and Russian vessels on their official Facebook page on May 5. The video shows the Ukrainian rescue boat carrying out its drills, when two Russian ships by the names Pechora and Amur notice the boat and send off a Russian boat Velbot 769 to seize the Ukrainians on the basis of them “crossing the Russian border” and attempting to “take photographs.”

Crews of Ukrainian tactical aviation brigade conducted flight training on MiG-29 and L-39 aircraft | Defence Blog

The crews of the MiG-29 jet fighters and L-39 advanced trainer of the Air Command “Center” tactical aviation brigade have started honing their flight skills. According to tactical aviation brigade commander Colonel Vladimir Kravchenko main purpose of the flight is to practice common methods of restoring and maintaining the skills of crews in dogfights in the clouds by day and night. During the training, the pilots practice take-offs and landings, performing elements of aerobatic maneuvering and group piloting. Special attention was paid to piloting in complicated weather conditions as well as at low altitudes.

Russia’s grip on Europe’s oil supply threatens Ukraine’s energy independence | The Independent

The fields around Grabova and Debaltsave came to international attention as the crash site of Flight MH17, the Malaysia Airlines aircraft Ukraine’s separatists were accused of shooting down. But along the roads, on the scarred landscape, is another reminder of the civil war, one which continues to pose a great problem for the government in Kiev.

Alexei Bayer: Why Ukraine needs a strong EU | KyivPost

On New York City streets these days you can see ads for a new product on the market – Lvov vodka from Poland. A tweet by the company describes it as follows: “Lvov vodka takes its name from a town in Poland (now in Ukraine due to ever changing map lines of the region), and is crafted the same way for generations.” It is the greatest demonstration why Ukraine has a vital stake in the May 7 presidential elections in France, next month’s general elections in the United Kingdom, in the vote to be held later this year in Germany, in a strong European Union and, in general, in the preservation of a stable post-World War II global political system. A wave of nationalism is sweeping the world. We see it in China and India as these countries revel in their newly found – or rather, revived – national prowess. The Israelis, having claimed for seven decades to be the longed-for home for the world’s dispersed Jewry, have discovered that they are a separate nation after all and are asserting their nationalism with a vengeance. In Europe we see a disillusionment with the transnational E.U. project giving rise to Brexit, Marine Le Pen and the revival of right-wing nationalism. In America, too, Donald Trump took advantage of the nativist, white Christian resentment and he’s now threatening to undermine the international status quo in order to “make America great again.” This is total nonsense of course since it is the United States that derives the greatest benefit from the international system it created after World War II and has been upholding ever since. In Europe, too, junking the E.U. project would be similarly idiotic. It has been responsible for a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity in the Western part of the continent, afforded Germany a chance to unify under the auspices of the Federal Republic, allowed Southern European nations to achieve higher incomes and made it possible for Eastern Europe to break from under the Soviet sway. While less developed nations – or emerging economies as they are called – including China and India – get substantially less benefits from this system, they are clearly better off within it than outside.

She fixed Ukraine’s economy — and was run out of her job by death threats – The Washington Post

Ukraine’s central banker won the IMF’s admiration — and then she was called a ‘Russian pig’ and ‘oligarch killer’

Ukraine supports idea jointly with Belarus to develop navigation on Dnipro River | KyivPost

Ukraine fully supports the implementation of the project for the development of port infrastructure in the settlement of Nizhnie Zhary (Belarus) for the purpose of loading with heavy vessels. According to the press service of the Infrastructure Ministry of Ukraine, the issue was discussed during talks between the Ukrainian ministry and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus on the development of river transportation on May 5. The Belarusian delegation was headed by Deputy Minister Aleksandr Shishko, the Ukrainian one was led by Deputy Minister for European Integration Viktor Dovhan. The report notes this port in the long term could become a major transit hub that will connect Europe and Asia.

Nowadays, Everyone Is a Potential Target in Ukraine – Political Critique

Treason trial against Yanukovych begins in Ukraine | News | DW.COM | 04.05.2017

Ukrainian ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s trial has opened in a district court in Kyiv. But how did the former head of state come to face treason charges? DW summarizes the key facts.

Yanukovych stole equivalent of Ukraine’s state budget as president, – prosecutor’s office

07.05.17 13:06 – Yanukovych stole equivalent of Ukraine’s state budget as president, – prosecutor’s office The Prosecutor General’s Office claims some $40 billion of public funds was stolen by Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych. View news.

Ukraine blacklists action star Steven Seagal over Russia ties – To Inform is to Influence

Besides being a monumentally bad actor, Steven Seagal must also be rock stupid.  As an aging action star, his hair implants, bad hair dye, and cream puff complexion can be forgiven as attempts to retain his youth.  Like Ukraine, however, I cannot forgive his affinity for Russia and Putin in particular.  </end editorial> The Under Siege star has…

Steven Seagal Is No Longer Welcome In Ukraine – Newsy Story

Actor Steven Seagal has been blocked from entering Ukraine, probably due to his close ties with Russia.

Steven Seagal banned from Ukraine as national security threat – The Washington Post

The “Under Siege” star is blacklisted from entering Ukraine for at least five years.

Steven Seagal is a threat to national security: Ukraine | New York Post

Steven Seagal has been banned from Ukraine for five years, the Guardian reported Saturday.

President: New legislation will ensure profound educational reform, European principles and models — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko submitted to the Parliament draft law “On Amendments to Law of Ukraine “On Education” as regards Peculiarities of Access of People with Special Educational Needs to Educational Services” that will ensure the continuation of development of inclusive education in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Israel to cooperate in cinematography — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko signed the Law of Ukraine on ratification of the Agreement on Joint Movie Production and Cooperation in Cinematography between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of Israel.

Poroshenko’s daughter-in-law has offered to burn her Russian passport publicly on the Maidan

According to TV presenter Dmitry Gnap, the wife of the eldest son of the president of Ukraine has not yet gotten rid of Russian citizenship. Ukrainian journalist, civic activist and TV presenter of the First National TV Channel Dmitry Gnap intends to find out the origin of the Russian passport from his daughter-in-law Julia Poroshenko, nephew who bore the surname Alikhanova at the nearest news conference of Poroshenko. She is the wife of the eldest son of Ukrainian leader Alexei Poroshenko. [18301344_1310079925741838_1041006295250844952_n.jpg] Gnap posted on his page in the social network Facebook photo of the Russian passport of Julia Poroshenko, who was born in 1985 in Leningrad, and asked her to publicly arrange a “bright performance” called “The daughter-in-law of the Ukrainian president burns her Russian passport on the Maidan.” The scandal erupted after another son Poroshenko 16-year-old Michael “lit up” on the web in a T-shirt with the inscription Russia. The picture was allegedly taken during the graduation ceremony at the British college Concorde. But against the backdrop of this scandalous story, which has done a lot of hype in the Ukrainian media and social networks, Gnap stressed that Julia Poroshenko has not yet gotten rid of Russian citizenship. “The passport, apparently, is still valid.I have not found information on the website of the President about granting Mrs. Julia Ukrainian citizenship,” Gnap said. “Big treason here, of course not. There are people who, with Russian passports, are fighting for Ukraine in volunteer battalions. I think Julia Lvovna also hates Putin and the Russians for the war against Ukraine. Although, you will agree, what a bright performance could be arranged: “The daughter-in-law of the Ukrainian president burns his Russian passport on the Maidan.” Peter Alekseyevich, how do you like the idea? It’s all right, do not thank … “, Gnap wrote. Earlier, the media reported that the wife of the eldest son Alexei Poroshenko was from St. Petersburg, although at the wedding relatives were assured that she was a native Kyivan woman. In addition, there were rumors in the press that Yulia Poroshenko was allegedly the sister of Anna Yalova, the wife of the vice-governor of the Leningrad region, Dmitry Yalov.

Why is Ukraine Investigating a 94-year-old Jewish Soviet Army Veteran? – Tablet Magazine

This week The Guardian reported that the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general has opened a new murder investigation against a 94-year-old Jewish Red Army veteran and former KGB colonel for his role in the 1952 killing of a nationalist insurgent. The prosecution of former Colonel Boris Steckler…


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Gary Wetzel | Russia’s Involvement In Syria Proves That It’s Far Behind The Western World 

Russia has made a lot of noise about the modern weapons it has used during combat in Syria and how effective these new weapons are. Fresh Su-34 attack jets scream through the skies, while the latest in small arms test their mettle. But the reality is most of what Russia has used is not as shiny and advanced as Moscow would like you to believe. The vast majority of aircraft carrying out airstrikes are among the oldest in the Russian military, and it only gets worse from there.

U.S. Dismisses Russia’s Ban on Aircraft Over Syrian Safe Zones – WSJ

A Russian envoy said U.S. aircraft are barred from flying over the “de-escalation zones” that Russia, Iran and Turkey recently agreed to establish in Syria, but U.S. officials dismissed the idea.

Russia: Deal reached with US to prevent Syria mid-air collisions | TheHill

Russia says it’s reached an airspace deconfliction deal with the U.S. aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions in Syria, Reuters reported Saturday. The memorandum of understanding between the two countries was suspended by Russia last month after the U.S. launched a retaliatory missile strike on a Syrian military airfield. The U.S. strike was in response to a chemical weapons attack in northern Syria allegedly carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. That chemical attack left more than 80 civilians dead, including many children. ADVERTISEMENT Russia is a staunch ally of Assad and is conducting airstrikes against targets in the country to help Syrian government forces fight militant groups. The U.S. and Russia signed the memorandum in 2015 when Russia began its air operations in the country. The U.S. has long held the position that Assad must leave power in order to end Syria’s ongoing and bitter civil war — a conflict that has left hundreds of thousands dead and has driven millions from their homes. Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have worsened in the weeks since the U.S. missile strike. The Kremlin condemned the attack as an act of aggression against a sovereign state before suspending the airspace agreement.

Russia’s proposed Syrian “safe zone” deal goes into effect – CBS News

The U.S. is watching closely to see if the plan, one of the more ambitious effforts to end the conflict, can successfully take hold

Has Syria’s opposition lost to Assad? | Syria | Al Jazeera

We speak to Bassma Kodmani, a member of Syria’s negotiations committee, and Mexican presidential candidate Rios Piter.

Analysis: Is Syria being partitioned into ‘de-escalation’ safe zones? – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The inclusion of Quneitra, which borders the Golan, is of particular interest to Israel.

Russia tries to elbow its way into Saudi Arabia arms club

Long-time U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is pushing to diversify the country’s arms suppliers and the Russians are very happy to help.


DPRK / PRC Reports


Chinese expert say that China should take military action against THAAD deployment | Defence Blog

China should take military countermeasures against THAAD deployment, a Chinese military expert said after the defense ministries of South Korea and the U.S. confirmed onMay 2 that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system is now operational in South Korea. The system reportedly has the initial capability to intercept North Korean missiles. The deployment of THAAD poses a substantial threat to China. The system enables SouthKorea and its allies to monitor military projects in northern, northeastern and easternChina, Yang Chengjun, a senior military strategist of missile studies, told the GlobalTimes. Diplomatic channels have so far proven unable to stop the deployment of THAAD, Yang said, suggesting that China take military action to safeguard its national security. For instance, China could send more troops armed with advanced weapons to its north-east region, enhance air and naval forces and conduct regular anti-THAAD drills in the region. The country could also disclose more information about the deployment of its own advanced weapons, such as the DF-41 strategic missile, according to Yang.

China urged U.S. to fire Pacific Command chief Harris in return for pressure on North Korea | The Japan Times

China urged the United States to sack the head of the U.S. Pacific Command in return for exerting more pressure on North Korea amid concerns over its growi

North Korea’s ‘Hostage Diplomacy’: Kim Uses Detained Americans as Leverage – NBC News

Kim Jong Un has broken with his predecessors, using American citizens as a defense tactic rather than as a tool to bring the U.S. to the negotiating table, experts said.

N. Korea’s death plot accusations mimic its own misdeeds:The Asahi Shimbun

WASHINGTON–In the paranoid universe of North Korea, the feverish accusations it makes against its s

Articles: War with North Korea: the Toll

Would a future U.S. president abandon South Korea in the face of nuclear blackmail? Who knows if Kim’s successor would be ruthless and rational? Even rational men miscalculate. Is conventional war now, even with its high price, better than war tomorrow, with nukes in the mix? Trump is weighing a lot. War, and its consequences, carries the greatest weight.

North Korea’s Secret Strategy in a War with America: Go Underground | The National Interest Blog

As in whole airfields . . . and more. 

North Korean troops preparing for combat with the US by watching bizarre ‘Godzilla’ film made by Kim Jong-un’s dead dad

The 1985 movie Pulgasari shows how brave peasants can band together to conquer a much more powerful enemy

Now North Korea threatens to nuke the White House as it brands American troops ‘murderous ogres’

Hate-filled article also accuses the US of being a ‘hotbed of evil’ which needs to be hit

North Korean Leader Orders Troops To Be Ready To ‘Break Enemy’s Backbone’

North Korea’s leader ordered frontline artillery forces to be prepared to “break the backbone” of enemy forces.

North Korea Makes A Lot Of Wild Accusations | The Daily Caller

North Korea has been hurling wild, unconfirmed accusations at the U.S. and its allies for years.

World War 3 News: North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Planning To Attack South Korea

As the tension between the Korean peninsula and the United States continues, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is considering a plan to attack South Korea. If the alleged war happens then it may lead …

Leading South Korean Presidential Candidate Moon Aims To Negotiate With North : Parallels : NPR

Liberal human-rights lawyer Moon Jae-in holds a double-digit lead in polls heading into Tuesday’s vote. He says he would seek a less confrontational stance toward North Korea, a big change in policy.

RPT-Can S.Korea’s Moon make sunshine again with defiant North? | Reuters

(Repeats story that ran on May 5 with no change in text)* Liberal Moon Jae-win expected to win May 9 South Koreaelection* Moon favours engag

The race for the Blue House: N Korea in the spotlight | Politics | Al Jazeera

South Koreans are on the horns of a dilemma about North Korea policy ahead of the presidential election.

What’s at stake in the South Korea election?

Change of guard follows corruption scandal and rising tensions with Pyongyang and China

Concerns Over N. Korea, China Influence Shadow ASEAN FM Meeting

Foreign ministers from the 10 member Association of South East Asian Nations will meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Asean assures US of stand on North Korea, SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Asean countries have assured the US of full compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions to pressure Pyongyang into curbing its nuclear programme.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

China’s beef with Korea: the link between halal food and THAAD | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post

South Korea’s response to a ban on Chinese tour groups has given its Muslim visitors something to chew on

Mystery of the North Koreans who left Macau for Zhuhai … where are they now? | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post

A scandal in Macau led many North Koreans to relocate to Zhuhai, but a decade on, few seem to remain – and after the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, those who do have fallen silent

Three strange links between Macau, North Korea: from Saddam Hussein to customs chief’s death | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post

Casino deals, asylum offer for the Iraqi dictator and an unexplained demise

PLA Air Force making exercises more realistic – Chinadaily.com.cn

New style of combat training aims to enhance preparedness The People’s Liberation Army Air Force is strengthening the intensity and difficulty of its combat exercises to improve pilot capabilities. In the past, exercises were normally executed in accordance with preset plans, and pilots would often be told in advance the whereabouts and tactics of their practice enemies before the drill. The reasons behind the well-orchestrated exercises included the idea that some units regarded the training sessions as a performance opportunity for high officers and that some commanders wouldn’t accept risks that could emerge in fierce simulated confrontations. That mentality has vanished, according to a news release from the Air Force. Commanders and pilots have been given stringent, realistic combat scenarios and are told to try their best to win. Now, freestyle fighting, live-fire strikes and long-range sea patrols have become regular elements in the training of the Air Force’s fighter jet and bomber units, according to the news release. The Air Force Headquarters organizes four large exercises each year for different units-the Red Sword advanced aerial combat exercise, Blue Shield aircraft and missile defense exercise, Golden Helmet freestyle fighting exercise and Golden Dart land attack exercise. All of these exercises involve the use of sophisticated maneuvers, cutting-edge weapons and electronic countermeasures. The tasks in the exercises are deliberately designed to test the weaknesses of participants, forcing them to keep improving, the Air Force said. On the basic level, front-line commanders are also aware of the importance of combat simulations and use every opportunity to create realistic fighting scenarios, it said. A fighter jet unit of the Southern Theater Command invited an electronic warfare unit to carry out electronic war games with it to verify its jamming and anti-jamming measures. The unit also cooperates with aviation forces under the PLA Navy’s South Sea Fleet to conduct aerial combat drills, which feature confrontation between various types of fighter jets above the sea. Another fighter jet unit, under the Western Theater Command, often joins hands with other Air Force units to perform integrated command and joint operation drills, which involve radars and air defense missiles, as well as multiple kinds of aircraft. “Pilots should train in every environment where aerial combat can occur. Thanks to exercises that are much more difficult than before, pilots have substantially enhanced their capabilities,” the news release quoted Xu Qin, a female pilot of the JH-7 fighter/bomber in the Northern Theater Command, as saying. PLA Daily previously reported that the Air Force established an adversary brigade in 2015 to help improve the combat training of its units. The brigade has fighter jets, helicopters, electronic warfare aircraft and drones, and all of its aircraft are domestically developed models. Its aviators include several top-class fighter pilots selected from Air Force units. They communicate in English during exercises, according to the newspaper. An Air Force adversary unit uses enemy tactics, techniques and procedures to provide a realistic simulation of air combat to military pilots.

N. Korean threat: Tokyo weighs use of cruise missiles, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

TOKYO • Japan is mulling over the use of cruise missiles in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, a move that could invite backlash from proponents of its pacifist Constitution.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

 


Foreign Policy Reports


BOOK REVIEW: The Limited Power of Nuclear Threats | Arms Control Association

Writing for the War on the Rocks website in March, Yale University nuclear scholar Paul Bracken acknowledges that “narrow nuclear blackmail (‘Give up Kashmir immediately or we’ll attack Mumbai with atomic weapons’) is not very likely anymore. But, the opportunities for blackmail in a nuclear context are greatly increased today,” meaning attempts by nuclear-armed states to compel someone without issuing a specific threat to use nuclear weapons. Bracken emphasizes the possibility of such blackmail being directed not only against enemies but also against allies—Washington pressing Seoul “not to take Pyongyang” in a conflict. Bracken’s essay shows the salience of Sechser and Fuhrmann’s book, but their rich analysis seems to puncture his ­assumptions and assertions. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine that high-level policymakers in any country will read this book or any book like it. Even if they did read and draw the proper cautionary conclusions, every nuclear crisis is new. Knowledge of the historical record and probabilities that may be derived from it will not prevent decision-makers from concluding that a new crisis is different. What rarely worked in the past might well work now. This possibility heightens the importance of reinforcing the taboo against first use of nuclear weapons because, of any single variable Sechser and Fuhrmann cite in explaining the difficulty of nuclear coercion, the most important is the sense of the international cost that would be imposed on the actors who use nuclear weapons first.

Putin’s leaky strategy – To Inform is to Influence

By Joe Scarborough May 6 at 7:49 PM Russia has struck again. But this time, Vladimir Putin’s target was not a presidential runner-up in the United States but the next president of France. Putin should have quit while he was behind. Russia’s attack on last year’s American election may have dominated political headlines, but many agree…

As Macron learned, campaigns are soft cyber targets – POLITICO

Experts say lawmakers and politicians aren’t learning fast enough or going far enough to secure their networks at election time.

Emmanuel Macron email leaks ‘linked to Russian-backed hackers who attacked Democratic National Committee’ | The Independent

A huge leak of emails from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign team may have been orchestrated by the same group behind the Democratic National Committee leak, analysts say. Code within a cache of up to 9GB of data and documents posted on an anonymous filesharing website was partly written in Russian, despite apparent efforts to delete metadata.

France presidential elections: Louvre evacuated as suspicious package found ahead of Emmanuel Macron speech | The Independent

Louvre grounds, where French presidential candidate and favourite Emmanuel Macron was planning to celebrate his possible victory on Sunday, was evacuated for security checks after a suspicious bag was found, police and a campaign official said.

French elections: Will it be Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen? – CNN.com

France has started voting in the final act in one of the most tumultuous presidential election campaigns in the country’s history.

French presidential election: Bots account for 40 per cent Emmanuel Macron campaign hack tweets – The Economic Times

Emmanuel Macron, has been the victim of a “massive and coordinated hacking operation”, after files purporting to be from the campaign were posted online via social media.

France: Emmanuel Macron, Useful Idiot of Islamism

Emmanuel Macron, a “Useful Infidel,” is not a supporter of terrorism or Islamism. It is worse: he does not even see the threat. Louizi’s article gave names and dates, explaining how Macron’s political movement has largely been infiltrated by Muslim

Merkel Says NATO Must Show Strength and Keep Dialog With Russia – Bloomberg

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization needs to show strength and keep open lines of dialog amid a new political security situation in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Hanover evacuates 50,000 after five RAF bombs are found | Daily Mail Online

Fifty thousand people were evacuated from Hanover, Germany, at 9.00am on Sunday as disposal experts worked to remove five RAF bombs from a raid in October 1943.

50,000 evacuated from German city after 5 WWII bombs uncovered | Fox News

At least 50,000 people are being forced out of the center of Hannover after five unexploded World War II bombs were discovered.

In Venezuela’s Chaos, Elites Play a High-Stakes Game for Survival – The New York Times

Worsening unrest and economic collapse give powerful officials reason to want a change in leadership and an opportunity to impose it.T

housands of women march in Venezuelan capital against socialist government – Chicago Tribune

Women banged on pans and some stripped off their white shirts Saturday as they protested Venezuela’s socialist government.

What Venezuela Can Be

Venezuela is in chaos but writes Felicitas Kort it can still rise like a phoenix from ashes.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Why Russia cultivates fringe groups on the far-right and far-left.

There’s a method to the weirdness.

Former CIA Official Talks Russia Probe | Mediaite

“I think it’s someone higher up.”

Did the Trump Campaign Collude With Russia? Follow the Money

Just as Al Capone was done in by income taxes, the key to this puzzle may lie in campaign finance laws.

 

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